Our breath is the key to our very existence; it creates ripples of joy

IIt is a blast,” was the refrain of a techie at Hyderabad while sharing his experience with fellow participants after experiencing the “Sudarshan Kriya” breathing technique during the Happiness Programme of the Art of Living. On account of excessive drinking my wife in sheer desperation enrolled me for the Part 1 Course (now called the Happiness Programme) at Jaipur where I was introduced to this breathing process. By the grace of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya, I have now been sober for over 16 years.

There were around 40 alcoholics and drug addicts at a rehabilitation centre in Gorakhpur and there were three. Some looked menacing, others disenchanted with life and a few enveloped by ennui attempting to derail the course. But in our arsenal was Gurudev's cassette of “Sudarshan Kriya” to help them.

Meaning of Sudarshan Kriya

“Su” means proper, “Darshan” implies vision and “Kriya” is a purifying action. Through the action of our breath, we appreciate a proper vision of what we truly are. Everything in nature runs on rhythm. Enlightenment is nothing but being in sync with the rhythm of the universe. During the breathing process participants experience varied sensations, emotions, tingling feelings, laughter, and weeping among others. But the objective is to keep breathing to the syllable of SOHAM in Gurudev’s voice. Finally, all the accumulated stress is extricated and a person is deeply relaxed.

The breathing technique was developed by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar after being in silence for 10 days on the banks of the Bhadravati River at Shimoga, a small town in Karnataka. Prophets of doom have questioned the salutatory benefit of the course and the breathing technique. Researchers at NIMHANS and AIIMS have zeroed in on the impact of the breathing technique on Vagus nerve stimulation which improves the heart rate, benefits cognition, improves breathing patterns, restores calmness in the mind and body, works positively on the endocrine system, releases endorphins like prolactin, vasopressin and oxytocin which increases prana levels in the human body to become achievers.

This technique has been successfully used on victims of trauma, terrorists and Naxalites. It has produced remarkable results as this wonderful knowledge and wisdom has triggered humanness to blossom in them. Every cell and article of the body overflows with happiness and life is abundant with the glow of love where the body becomes the wick of a candle. Love and belongingness become a natural process of our inner being if practised regularly with faith and devotion.

Several practitioners feel they can practice the breathing technique at home. But that is only traversing half the path. It is indispensable and paramount that one must practice the technique daily and attend the follow-up once a week where a certified Art of Living teacher plays the instructions in Gurudev’s voice which reinvigorates the body and mind to be fresh like dew. One should not fall prey to imitations as these days fakes are available on YouTube. The gift of Sudarshan Kriya has been given to humanity by Gurudev and can be passed on only through the qualified faculty of the foundation. The entire voyage is to nothing but to spread waves of happiness across the universe as our breath is the key to our very existence.

(The writer is the CEO of Chhattisgarh East Railway Ltd.and Chhattisgarh East West Railway Ltd. He is a faculty of the Art of Living)

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